On the Radar: Featuring the South Florida Group Authentik
When a buzz starts to go around, and you’re hearing everyone talk about something, that means it may need to be on your radar as well. Each month, we hope to highlight artists/producers that have been on our radar, and we think you should get to know. Whether they are up and coming, been killing their features, or have produced some of the hottest tracks out right now in Christian Hip Hop. They have been placed on our radar and we hope to put them on yours.
To kick off this feature, we highlight a six man group (Serge, M.I.C., Woody, Prospekt, Big Mike, and E-Van) out of South Florida that are receiving quite the buzz. They have only been doing music together for almost three years, and they recently debuted their album ‘Groans Before Glory,’ this past December. On the Radar this month is the rap group Authentik.
In this post, we will feature an Album Synopsis of their debut album by Branden Murphy, a written interview and some of their videos.
When you hear the word authentic, you think of real, genuine, and honest. Those definitions resemble the up and coming rap group, Authentik to a tee. When I listened to their album, Groans Before Glory, I wasn’t expecting too much. I saw that they had some heavy hitting features from Sho Baraka, Benjah and Json, but I wasn’t convinced. But after listening through their album, I am now a fan. They delivered so much truth and transparency over quality beats and production. When an artist is on the come up, I usually give them the benefit of the doubt and expect poor production. This album sounded great and was packed with biblical truth. The amount of theological terms blended with bangin’ beats reminded me of Flame. A listener can not only bounce around and get sweaty, but they may just learn something.
This group is on our radar because we believe that they are not going to be leaving the Christian hip hop scene any time soon. There were some moments on the album where it sounded kind of crowded on a song or the chorus wasn’t the best, but I believe they will grow as they continue to do music. The lyrics, production, and features proved to me that Authentik will continue to sharpen their craft and kill it for the King. I feel that this is truly just the beginning for a group of guys that love the Lord.
- What was the whole concept behind Groans Before Glory?
Prospekt: The concept behind Groans Before Glory, you know we see since the beginning, after Adam fell, God promised that a seed would be coming. So you know, the things that as Christians, we suffer inwardly as we wait for Jesus to come back, we struggle with our temptations and some Christians even die for the Gospel. So in the whole concept we are encouraging all believers and even nonbelievers that while you’re going through the groans, while you’re going through the pain, just keep hope that one day, Christ will come back and we will be in glory with him.
- How did you get Json, Sho Baraka, and Benjah on the project?
E-Van: Basically, we have people that also work on our label, who connect with other artists and they heard about us, our story and what we’re about. They heard our music and our direction, they were feeling what we were trying to articulate and respected what we were trying say, and we got an opportunity to chop it up and build with every last one of them. And really get to know them, and they really got to know us. And through our manager Gus and through also another brother named Manny Mills, who helped connect us as well. Through different connections and also by hearing our music and what we wanted to articulate in it.
- Explain the story behind the trip to California and what you all did.
Serge: In 2009 God called us to move from Miami to California to help with a ministry called Global Gospel Movement. It was three of us; me, Big Mike and Prospekt. So what we did was, from Miami to California, we just went across America for six months, we left California with twenty dollars in our pockets and we just went city to city, state to state by Greyhound Bus, just preaching the Gospel any and everywhere. Schools. Downtown. Bus stations. Homeless shelters. Just preaching Christ. We started in California, and so throughout a span of six months we made our way back slowly to Miami, and so we hit about 10 different states. So our only job was to preach Christ six days a week and on Sundays we rested. So we finished that in 2010 and it was an amazing experience.
- What does the Miami music scene look like? Are you influenced by other CHH/ local Hip Hop Miami artists?
M.I.C.: I think when you hear Groans Before Glory it is like a multi, different types of music. We had techno, hard hip hop, southern music. I wouldn’t say that we are influenced by anybody, but we like to hear different types of talent around Miami. Um, and we just influence each other you know.
E-Van: Personally, I think I get inspired by local artists. One thing I’ve learned about Christian rap, if you make it to that main stage, you should be humbled by the grace of God. But you should be also thankful for brothers that are local who are hitting these small churches. Cause you’re not going to get a Lecrae to go to Beulah Baptist, where there’s like 40 members. So you might get this one cat, where God might not be calling him to go that direction, but I’ve been encouraged by brothers who know their platform, may not get big, and they’re talented, and they are content. And that encourages me that, no matter where God takes us, just keep the same mindset. Be who we were before we started this music, and be who we are while we are in this music.
- What was the heart behind the ‘Youth Vs. Hunger’ track? Is it associated with a Ministry?
Serge: Youth vs. Hunger is like a child ministry of Cross International. So Cross International, what they do, is they feed about 80 to 90 million kids a year. Different countries like Nicaragua and Haiti. Every year they do a different country. About a year ago, we ran into them through our manager Gus, so we did an event, which was a food packaging event, where we packaged food for the kids. Shout out to Matt Young. So just eventually building with him, they asked if we could do a theme song for them … But Youth vs. Hungry is just a movement more specifically trying to target college campuses, the youth, to try and raise awareness for hunger across the world.
- With a track like ‘Youth Vs Hunger,’ do you feel like its important to address social issues in your songs?
Big Mike: I believe that it is important. Ultimately Christ is the answer to everything. But we sometimes you need to give them an angle. You know, show them how it’s relative to certain topics, how to apply God in each and every situation. So, I think that just the approach that the Christian rap agenda has been going is really good. Those who don’t know the Lord can think of things in a different way, opposite to what the world is offering them. You have a different choice. A Christ centered choice. A choice that brings life to the situation. I think it’s very important. Application is important.
- What are the animated videos about and for?
Big Mike: With One Hope International we have been doing Bible Songs with them. Right now we are doing a 10 song project for them. The songs are closely related to scripture as possible, and basically One Hope is going to take them, translate them to different languages, send it out to the kids worldwide. And basically when they get the songs, and memorize the songs, they are actually memorizing scripture. So that’s what the use of the songs are.
Serge: We have two so far. ‘The Fall’ and ‘Abraham and Isaac.’
For this year, Authentik hopes to continue to push their debut project and release five videos. And when it came to projects the group is excited for in 2013, it was a collective anticipation for Andy Mineo’s Heroes for Sale project. They are also looking forward to Serge’s EP and their Conformed to Facts (CTF) label mate Oscar Urbina’s project as well.
What artists/producers are on your radar that we may need to put on ours?